Matthew Taylor: Is warehouse in Chris Davis’ sights?

Can the Orioles’ Chris Davis become the first player to hit the B&O Warehouse with a home run during game action? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself since Davis hit a broken-bat homer June 13 against the Pirates. The display of strength by a power-hitting lefty has had me pondering the possibilities ever since. My prediction, equal parts bold and foolish, is that Davis will become the first batter to hit the Warehouse.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been open for 20 years. There have been reports of players who hit the warehouse during batting practice. However, the only confirmed Warehouse shot is Ken Griffey’s effort during the 1993 All-Star Game Home Run Derby. That ball traveled 465 feet. Meanwhile, Lance Berkman’s 444-foot home run last June is the longest Eutaw Street home run. Clearly, it’s a difficult feat.

This we know: Hitting the warehouse requires requires power and strange fortunes.

Many batters can hit a ball 465 feet. Six players have already done so this season: Texas’ Nelson Cruz (484 feet), Cleveland’s Travis Hafner (481 feet), Houston’s Justin Maxwell (471 feet), Texas’ Josh Hamilton (469 feet), Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (466 feet) and Boston’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia (466 feet). Last season, 17 players hit balls that traveled 465 feet or longer, led by Prince Fielder’s 486-foot homer for the Brewers.

But a warehouse home run is as much about placement as it is distance. A lefty could hit a Eutaw Street home run more than 465 feet and not hit the warehouse just has he could hit a Eutaw Street home run that travels less than 465 feet and still hit the Warehouse. Adam Dunn’s 2009 Eutaw Street home run for the Nationals comes to mind. The ball, which traveled 442 feet down the line, came close to hitting the warehouse on the fly.

Davis’ career long homer, in 2009, went 452 feet. He hit it, fittingly, at Camden Yards, albeit it to center field. Watch it here.

So Davis has never hit a Griffey-like shot, but he’s hit a ball that, if it headed in the right direction, could make Camden Yards history.

That brings us to the matter of strange fortunes. Yes, many players could hit the warehouse, but no one has in 20 years because everything has to fall into place just right. Which is why Davis has a leg up on the competition.

So far in 2012, the first baseman has pitched two innings of shutout relief to earn a win in Boston, made a highlight-worthy diving catch in right field to rob Atlanta’s Chipper Jones of a hit and stroked that aforementioned broken-bat home run against the Pirates. The guy is patching together enough unique happenings to become a local folk hero during his first full season in Baltimore. Strange fortunes, indeed.

All of these factors were floating around in my mind recently when I happened upon Davis’ Twitter account for the first time. Lo and behold, the background image is a photo of the warehouse.

Extra innings: For as much I love Eutaw Street home runs and am intrigued by the question of who might hit the Warehouse first, there’s no overlooking this fact: The only ball hit completely out of Memorial Stadium, Frank Robinson’s Mother’s Day home run in 1966, went 541 feet. Kinda makes a warehouse shot look like warning track power in comparison.

Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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